Cash-crunched VLJ Maker Cancels AOPA Expo Exhibits

 - November 4, 2008, 11:25 AM

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aviation yesterday confirmed that it scrubbed its planned attendance at AOPA Expo this week in San Jose, Calif., as it seeks to cut costs during its continuing search for financing. “We had to make the difficult decision to cancel our attendance at AOPA as part of our efforts to conserve cash,” a company spokeswoman told AIN via e-mail. “We continue to look for financing in the midst of global economic difficulties.” With aircraft production slowed and lawsuits from customers and suppliers mounting, Eclipse is reportedly trying to raise between $200 million and $300 million to continue operations. Two industry analysts last month predicted the company will likely run out of cash and cease production of the Eclipse 500 very light jet by early next year. Meanwhile, Eclipse is still awaiting certification from the EASA, which the company has said would pave the way for “hundreds” of European and Russian orders for its VLJs. Eclipse CEO Roel Pieper said in September that Eclipse would have EASA certification by the end of last month, but this didn’t happen. The spokeswoman couldn’t provide AIN with a new estimated date for European certification, saying only, “We expect it soon.”